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Old November 2, 2015, 12:26 PM   #1
Texas Moon
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Anyone here load BP shotshells?

Done went and did a crazy thing.
Ordered some all brass shotshells.
I just want to load a few for range goof off day and maybe a little hunting.
Have a nice little 20ga. Rossi Overland coach gun to shoot with.

Anyone have any 20ga load data?
Going off the box of regular smokeless ammo I'm seeing 2 1/4 or 2 1/2 dram powder charges and 7/8 or 1oz shot loads.
Dram= 27grains of BP.

I've loaded five shells for experimentation using that data.

I'm doing the very simple punch, dowel, glue method to load the shells.

Got wads from Circle Fly.

Now if the dadburn weather would cooperate!
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Old November 2, 2015, 01:58 PM   #2
Pete D.
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bPshotshells

I have loaded quite a few. I have used paper hulls both old and new, plastic hulls, drawn brass hulls (Magtech, CBC, BELL).and lathe turned hulls from.Rocky Mt. cartridge Co.
I always use 1 1/8th oz..of shot, three drams of FFg BP, a 0.125" nitro card, one half inch fiber cushion wad, a second 1/4" cushion wad and an overshot card. The RMC and the.paper hulls use 209 primers; the drawn brass.hulls use large pistol primers.
Another oddity about the drawn brass hulls is that they require wads and cards that are one gauge larger.than nominal. (12 gauge drawn brass hulls need 11 gauge wads and cards.
I seal the brass hulls with a 10 gauge overshot card held in with a bead of Duco cement. (I have tried waterglass and Elmers....Duco works better
Modern.plastic hulls melt. Paper hulls can be reloaded once.or twice. RMC hulls properly cared for will last longer than you will.
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Old November 2, 2015, 02:50 PM   #3
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Blackpowder shotshell reloading is common among cowboy action shooters. Factory blackpowder shells are pretty expensive, prohibitively so when shooting hundreds or thousands a year. I load for 12 gauge, have never reloaded for twenty gauge, so I will try to keep my comments general.

I use plastic hulls, mostly Winchester AA, Remington STS, and sometimes the Remington black game loads with low-based steel bases. I can usually get at least two and frequently three loadings per hull before the crimp becomes unusable. I know more than one shooter who then trims the case back and continues to load a short case. I also use plastic shot cups. They are cheap, and convenient. Yes they will leave plastic residue in a barrel. It's not hard to clean up...more later.

You will hear folks tale about a "square load" for shotshells; that's one in which the powder volume and the shot volume (VOLUME) are about the same. The old timers reportedly measured powder and shot for their muzzleloaders by pouring powder into the palm of the hand, dumping it into the barrel, ramming a wad, then pouring some shot into their hand to equal the volume of powder. It's a reasonable starting point, nothing magic about it. For my 12 gauge cowboy action loads, I will use 2.5 cc of 2F powder and 1 ounce of shot. That is a very light 12 gauge load, very little recoil, pleasant to shoot all day long, and patterns well for my purpose of taking down a steel knock-down target. 2.5 cc of powder is roughly 38 grains of powder.

So if you are just goofing around with a shotgun and not hunting geese with it, a light load is a lot of fun. 2 1/2 drams of black powder is about 68 grains of powder. Some cowboy action shooters load up to that to produce a big boom and lots of smoke in a 12 gauge. They would probably load more shot along with it, probably 1 1/4 ounces. A stouter load to be sure. If you look at the box of twenty gauge shells, I bet it says, "2 1/2 drams EQUIVALENT" because smokeless powder is more powerful than black powder, volume for volume. So modern 20 gauge smokeless ammo performs as well as, or perhaps better than, the old black powder 12 gauge guns.

With all that stuff in mind, black powder is wonderfully versatile and you can play with your powder and shot volumes much more safely than you can with smokeless powder. If I were playing with a 20 gauge, I would figure out a volume of 2F powder and an equal volume of shot that would give me a good crimp with the plastic wad of your choice. You can tweak the powder and shot volumes up or down quite a bit to get a good solid crimp. If you insist on using brass shotshells, the same approach applies; just make sure your over-shot card is secure.

Cleaning barrels after shooting plastic wads is easy. Some guys just pour hot water down the barrels to wash it out, followed by appropriate drying patches and lube. I don't like to handle hot barrels. I plug the breech with a wadded up paper towel in each barrel of my side-by-side, spray a mixture of Ballistol diluted 1 to 10 with tap water liberally into the barrels, then plug up the muzzle of each barrel with more paper towel and lay the barrels down while I clean my other guns. After half an hour of soaking, I push the breach paper plugs through the barrel with a wooden dowel. Be sure to put the muzzles in a waste basket ( I use an old gallon milk jug) because a lot of stinky crud is going to come out.
Then dry the barrels with more paper towels on a rod, finish with a bore snake. Every shooter has his preference so I am sure you will suggestions for other methods.

Be sure to pattern your loads on paper. Every gun is an individual just like a snowflake; your gun may shoot well with a load that mine can't use.

Have fun!

Last edited by J-Bar; November 2, 2015 at 02:58 PM.
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Old November 2, 2015, 04:40 PM   #4
Texas Moon
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Thanks for the info.

I'm figuring the BP amount in drams to VOLUME grains.
Thought a 7/8oz shotload would cause less pressure for initial test purposes.
I also read where the Duco Cement works best for gluing in the over shot card. I have purchased several tubes.
The 20ga brass shells do use the 18ga wads. Have the over powder, fiber, and over shot.
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Old November 2, 2015, 06:52 PM   #5
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Modern shotguns with long forcing cones are made for and perform best with plastic wads. Older shotguns with the shorter forcing cones can work quite well with fiber wads etc,
I loaded 20 ga in brass cases with fiber wads for use in a 20 ga Baikal and could not get a reasonable pattern. I changed to plastic wads in the same hulls with the same shot and powder and got patterns of great goodness.
You may have to experiment a bit.
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Old November 3, 2015, 06:37 AM   #6
Pete D.
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Quote:
I loaded 20 ga in brass cases with fiber wads for use in a 20 ga Baikal and could not get a reasonable pattern. I changed to plastic wads in the same hulls with the same shot and powder and got patterns of great goodness.
You may have to experiment a bit.
That surprises me. I will have to give that a try. I have thought that 20 gauge plastic wads are too small to work in brass hulls and pressure would be too low.
Maybe this weekend.
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Old November 3, 2015, 09:31 AM   #7
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PeteD,

In my more modern chambered shot guns I make "hybrid" loads using all brass cases and black powder. I load two 1/8 card wads (18 gauge in my 20) then one 1/2 inch cushion wad. I cut the gas-seal/shock absorber off a plastic wad column and load only the shot sleeve with shot and follow up with a cork over-shot wad. This combination gives much better patterns than the plastic shot sleeve by itself or any combination of cardboard wads in all-brass shells.
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Old November 3, 2015, 02:17 PM   #8
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If you got Magtech 20 gauge brass hulls, you will find that standard 16 gauge plastic wads are a perfect fit. You may have to put a cork spacer in the wad, depending on the shot capacity. You may also have to compress the powder a bit to make it all fit in there and have room for the overshot card. I have loaded 20 gauge brass hulls with 60 to 65 grains Pyrodex RS, 2 overpowder card wads, 1 oz shot, then a glued overshot wad. Quite a bit of space left in the hull, but still had pretty good results. Great thing about the brass hulls is there's lots of ways to experiment with a shot column. I find that black powder and subs don't really require a cushion wad, in a muzzleloader shotgun, or black powder loaded shotshells. I posted one of my experiments here https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=537784.

Last edited by noelf2; November 3, 2015 at 02:32 PM.
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Old November 3, 2015, 05:27 PM   #9
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Aha!

.....that helps. Both the traditional card/wad/plastic shotcup and the 16 gauge wads in the 20 ga. brass hull.
65 grains of Pyrodex? That is, iirc, equivalent to near 100 grains of BP......a heavy load for a 20 gauge.
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Old November 3, 2015, 07:53 PM   #10
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Pete - 65 grains of Pyrodex RS by volume, is roughly equivalent to 65 grains of ffg Black powder by volume. They are equal. Don't put 100 grains of BP in a 20 gauge shell !!!
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Old November 4, 2015, 06:42 AM   #11
Pete D.
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Pyrodex

I am familiar with Pyrodex, though I no longer use it.
When someone says that they load 65 grains of Pyrodex, I take that statement at face value. If they state "65 grains by volume", then they are saying something different.
I have always thought - and continue to do so - that the whole measure by volume not by weight thing is silly. (And meant for muzzleloaders, not shotshells) When I load a propellant into a gun, I want to know close to the grain how much is being used. Thereafter, even with the measure set to 65, i know that the actual weight is about 50 grs (dont remember exactly anymore).
Even with BP...change your brand of BP and you are very probably changing the weight of the charge, even without changing the volume.
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Old November 4, 2015, 10:35 AM   #12
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Pete - Silly or not, BP and most substitutes are measured by volume by the vast majority of us that shoot it, even in shotgun shells, and it is rare for anyone to specify BP grains by weight. I use a black powder dipper from the 1800's that measures black powder in "drams", a measure of BP by volume, and was typically used for shotgun shell loads (I use it for that too). You made a dangerous assumption that I was using an equivalent charge of 100 grains of BP, solely based on your lack of acknowledgement of how BP and substitutes are actually measured. I didn't jump in to correct what you said for your sake only.

Quote:
Even with BP...change your brand of BP and you are very probably changing the weight of the charge, even without changing the volume.
True, but for commercial BP and subs, that minor difference is mostly considered irrelevant and inconsequential. Completely different story for modern smokeless powders, for which I am way more exacting.

Last edited by noelf2; November 4, 2015 at 11:07 AM.
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Old November 4, 2015, 11:09 AM   #13
Texas Moon
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Good Lord! I've been on Flea-Bay buying all manner of antique shotshell loading tools!

Dippers, primer set, ram, etc.
Still looking for a roll crimper.

LOL
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Old November 4, 2015, 11:21 AM   #14
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Texas, I ordered one of these. Should get it in a couple weeks. Made in Russia...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Shotgun-Roll...gAAOSwDNdVw2h9

I plan to start loading some paper and plastic hulls and this should roll crimp 12, 16, and 20 gauge. There are cheaper ways to do this, but I like the old way. This thing looks like a brand new antique..
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Old November 4, 2015, 11:48 AM   #15
Texas Moon
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I saw that. That's exactly what I need but coming from Russia I'm afeared it's a rip off or made from Chernobyl metal. LoL
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Old November 4, 2015, 12:18 PM   #16
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I'm sure it would trip the radiation sensors if so. And others have received them, so I figured for $55 I'd give it a try. Needless to say, it's not 2 day shipping.
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Old November 4, 2015, 06:48 PM   #17
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You can get brand new roll crimpers from Ballistic Products for half that price:

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/searchprods.asp

enter "roll" in the search box; for some reason the page with the roll crimpers won't copy for me.
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Old November 4, 2015, 07:40 PM   #18
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If I were to get the BPI roll crimpers from them, I'd need to get the 12, 16, and 20 gauge separately, and it would cost me MORE !!! And to crimp well, I'd need a drill press and at least a hull vise. Looking lots more expensive for that setup, J-Bar...
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Old November 4, 2015, 08:33 PM   #19
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Please let us know how the Russian tool works for you.
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Old November 5, 2015, 12:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
I use a black powder dipper from the 1800's that measures black powder in "drams", a measure of BP by volume, and was typically used for shotgun shell loads
Oh dear, here we go with the silly Grains/Volume stuff again.

Excuse me, but a dram is a measure of WEIGHT, not volume. Look it up. A dram is 1/16 of an ounce. Sixteen ounces to a pound and sixteen drams to an ounce. Period. If you do the math, with 7000 grains to a pound, a dram equals 27.34375 grains. That's weight, because a grain is a measurement of weight, not volume.

The Dram Equivalency that we sometimes see on a box of shotgun shells (don't see it much anymore) refers to the velocity a given modern Smokeless shotshell achieves. A 2 3/4 Dram Equivalent Smokeless load will achieve the same velocity that 2 3/4 drams (about 75 grains) of Black Powder would have achieved. For instance, for years, a standard 2 3/4" 2 3/4 Dram Equivalent target load of 1 1/8 ounces of shot would have a muzzle velocity of 1145 fps.

By the way, think about that 75 grains for a moment. That's more powder than in a 45-70 cartridge.

The whole concept of Grains/Volume came about when the Black Powder substitutes such as Pyrodex first appeard. Pyrodex weighs considerably less than real Black Powder does, but it has been formulated to have pretty much the same energy as a similar Volume of real Black Powder. So the easiest way to portion out Pyrodex was to use a Black Powder volume measure, like this:




You set the measure for the appropriate charge of Black Power, and you would get an appropriate amount of Pyrodex that would perform like the same charge of Black Powder.





Sure, we measure Black Powder by volume. When I load cartridges with Black Powder, I use a BP powder measure that portions out the powder by volume. Guess what? Smokeless Powder is measured by volume too. But the difference is, you set your volumetric Smokeless powder measure to portion out the correct charge by WEIGHING the charges, until the setting is right where you want it. Then you go to town and load all your cartridges using your powder measure that portions out the charges by volume.

When I load metallic cartridges with Black Powder, I choose a powder charge that will be compressed about 1/16" - 1/8" when the bullet is seated. But I do record the actual weight of the powder for reference purposes.

Yes, different brands of Black Powder do weight different amounts. I keep a chart in my reloading notebook of just how much my most common charges of Black Powder weigh by brand. I keep this chart just as a reference, nothing else. By the way, this data can change, because Black Powder can weigh different amounts, even the same granulation from the same manufacturer, from lot to lot. That is why most BPCR competitors weigh their charges, they do not use volume. And they will requalify their charges when changing to a different lot of powder.





****************************


Back to shotshell reloading. Do yourself a favor and buy the Lee dipper set. Much cheaper than using antique dippers. Notice too, that the Lee dippers are calibrated in an actual volume unit Cubic Centimeters. That is the way I refer to all of my Black Powder charges. By how many CCs of powder they contain.


http://leeprecision.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1


You can also by an inexpensive adjustable shot dipper from Lee, but I simply use the 1 1/8 ounce charge bar on my MEC Jr.

http://leeprecision.com/adjustable-shot-dipper.html


If you want to know how much so many CCs of powder weigh, dip it out and weigh it. What could be simpler?

Sorry, I don't load brass shot shells. I load hundreds of shells every year and I simply use once fired 12 gauge Remington STS or Winchester AA hulls. I load them on a simple MEC Jr press one at a time. I use Circle Fly separate Fiber Cushion Wads, Over Powder Cards, and Over Shot Cards. Yes, modern plastic wads do perform better in modern shotgun forcing cones, but I like doing it the old fashioned way. Besides, my loads only need to knock down a target 20 feet or so away. They don't have to pattern well enough to knock down a clay bird on the Trap field.

A word about Square Loads. Yes, the old standard was equal volume of shot and powder. If you put more powder in compared to the volume of shot, you can blow your patterns. On the other hand, if you put in less powder by volume than shot, you will not affect the pattern. My own loads have a bit less powder than shot, by volume. Simply because I am lazy and the largest dipper in the Lee set does not throw as much powder by volume as the volume of 1 1/8 ounces of shot.
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Old November 5, 2015, 06:10 AM   #21
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Danger

Quote:
Pete - You made a dangerous assumption that I was using an equivalent charge of 100 grains of BP, solely based on your lack of acknowledgement of how BP and substitutes are actually measured. I didn't jump in to correct what you said for your sake only.
Noel: I made no assumption. I reacted to what you wrote...which was that you used 65 grains of Pyrodex. As it turns out, you were referring to a measure set for 65 grains which you used for Pyrodex. What you wrote is different than what you meant. You made the assumption that everyone loads BP into shot shells by volume. That is not true. In fact, BPI's booklet about loading brass hulled shot shells refers to all charges in grains both for smokeless and for BP.
Indeed, I use Lyman's BP powder measure and it is calibrated in grains.
I grant you that it is probably a wise decision to load substitutes by volume equivalent....which is why I reacted to what you wrote.
What was dangerous about my observation?
Note: the differences in actual weight between one brand/lot of BP and another when measured by volume is not always inconsequential. You will have noticed that Driftwood's chart above shows a 13 grain difference between equal volumes of Goex and Elephant BPs.....a 22% difference.
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Old November 5, 2015, 08:08 AM   #22
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Pete -
Quote:
Noel: I made no assumption. I reacted to what you wrote...which was that you used 65 grains of Pyrodex. As it turns out, you were referring to a measure set for 65 grains which you used for Pyrodex. What you wrote is different than what you meant.
So, besides Pete, does anyone load Pyrodex by weight vs. volume, as a standard, for anything? If that's the new norm, then I will adjust to avoid dangerous interpretations.

Quote:
You made the assumption that everyone loads BP into shot shells by volume. That is not true.
So, I have an antique brass adjustable dram/oz powder measure that was made in the 1800's and was specifically made for the loading of shotgun shells. They were very common, and they were measurements of drams and lead by volume, even way back in the mid-late 1800's. This way was the norm then, and from what I know, still the norm (using volumetric measurments, ie grains or drams) for people interested in loading brass hulls (or any other shotshells loaded with commercial BP or equivalent subs). There are probably a couple people that don't load black powder or subs by volume in shotgun shells. I think it's far less the norm, or common, than you do. And I don't really care about people's idiosyncrasies.

Quote:
What was dangerous about my observation?
You acknowledged that 100 grain equivalent of BP in a 20 gauge shell was a heavy load, but you didn't say you wouldn't do such a thing. Just figured I'd warn you or anyone else that may assume I successfully did such a thing, and that they could, safely, as well.

Quote:
Note: the differences in actual weight between one brand/lot of BP and another when measured by volume is not always inconsequential. You will have noticed that Driftwood's chart above shows a 13 grain difference between equal volumes of Goex and Elephant BPs.....a 22% difference.
While a 22% difference in smokeless powder loads can be catastrophic, it is not so in a BP shotgun load. The pressure differences are on a completely different scale. Still, inconsequential IMHO.

Driftwood -
Quote:
Excuse me, but a dram is a measure of WEIGHT, not volume. Look it up.
Well I have to say, so what? People have been using volumetric dram and grain measures for BP since way before the arrival of Pyrodex. It has, for all intents and purposes, been the standard since people didn't carry around scales with them. Who cares if the dram was, at first, the measurement of the weight of an ancient Greek coin? Drams of BP and subs are accepted as volumetric measurements now, and as far back as shotgun shells have existed. Get over it.

Quote:
Do yourself a favor and buy the Lee dipper set. Much cheaper than using antique dippers. Notice too, that the Lee dippers are calibrated in an actual volume unit Cubic Centimeters. That is the way I refer to all of my Black Powder charges. By how many CCs of powder they contain.
So you also load black powder, by volume, with CCs (vs. grains or drams). So, volume is still the norm for you, but you like to do it your own way (with CCs). Cool. But that probably will never be the accepted standard, such as volume grains or drams (I hope). About the dippers... My antique brass shotgun loading dipper cost $10 at a junk store about 5 years ago. They are very common, at least near me. I don't see the advantage of Lee plastic dipper sets, and they're certainly not cheaper or easier IMHO. Heck, I don't even use the ones that came with my Lee die sets. My dipper is authentic, and adjustable. I do this how it was done before me, and that makes it fun.

Last edited by noelf2; November 5, 2015 at 11:50 AM.
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Old November 5, 2015, 04:18 PM   #23
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I load 12ga shells I find at the range. Fiocchi and Remington seem to hold up best against BP and Pyrodex... Federal shells melt and shrivel up.

When I load 7/8 oz slugs I'll just stuff a card in there on top of the powder and then run the slug down in a pillow ticking patch, like I do with my smooth bore flintlock. When it comes to shot I load the shells the same way as a BP fowler.
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Old November 6, 2015, 12:08 AM   #24
Pete D.
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[QUOTE]While a 22% difference in smokeless powder loads can be catastrophic, it is not so in a BP shotgun load. The pressure differences are on a completely different scale. Still, inconsequential IMHO. /QUOTE]
If one is writing about catastrophic differences, then you are most probably correct. If one is writing about a difference in performance, then you are probably not.
I react poorly to incorrect ideas presented as facts and your statement about drams is such a one:
Quote:
Drams of BP and subs are accepted as volumetric measurements now
A dram is a measure of weight only. All the wishing in the world will not make it a measure of volume. If someone were to say that they had a measure that threw a dram of powder, they would be talking about 27+ grs. If they were to use the measure for Pyrodex, it would throw the same volume but it would not be throwing a dram.
If you subscribe to the equal volume of shot and powder and you used your dram measure to throw three drams of BP, and then used it for lead shot.....would you say that you threw three drams of lead? The volume of a dram of lead is way smaller, obviously, than the volume of a dram of FFg.
Note: A dram is 27 grains of anything regardless of the volume involved.
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Old November 6, 2015, 09:33 AM   #25
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Quote:
A dram is a measure of weight only. All the wishing in the world will not make it a measure of volume.
Pete - I don't have to wish, or understand the ancient history of the dram or the grain. Fortunately, some ingenious person invented a convenient volumetric scale so I don't have to worry about it. I never said that volume was the only way to measure drams. Here's what I said:
Quote:
I use a black powder dipper from the 1800's that measures black powder in "drams", a measure of BP by volume, and was typically used for shotgun shell loads (I use it for that too).
My measure accounts for BP drams by volume. Obvioulsy, drams "can" be measured by volume with an appropriate device calibrated for doing such. Besides, in the whole sentence above, I was talking about my measuring device, not the history of measuring drams of stuff. For BP, it was done by volume using a calibrated tool, even if not exact. Now, if we may, lets get away from the deflection tactics of the history of units of measure, and get back to your original folly (how I quantified my use of Pyrodex, and how you misinterpreted it). I've looked all over several forums, and NOBODY has referred to Pyrodex charges by weight in their loads. It was always volume of grains or drams. Pyrodex was designed to very closely match commercial BP by volume so it could be accepted by people that only knew how to measure BP one way. No new measuring tools needed, and no loading process changes. YAY !!! Says right on the front label of Pyrodex RS - "The FFG Equivalent".

Definition of equivalent: "Equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc."

So, the makers of Pyrodex surely didn't expect you to measure it by weight, for anything, ever, or they would be lying about the "equivalent" part, right? If that doesn't sway you from your initial argument regarding how one should quantify their use of Pyrodex, the following should put your half of the debate to bed. From the Hodgdon website:
Quote:
"Pyrodex P is intended to be a direct replacement for FFFg Black powder when measured volumetrically using a black powder measure."
Quote:
"Pyrodex RS can be used in all calibers of percussion muzzleloading rifles and shotguns. It has a wide application of uses and is the most versatile powder in the Pyrodex line. Like all grades of Pyrodex, it burns cleaner and produces less fouling than blackpowder. RS compares to 2F blackpowder on a particle size basis."
Quote:
"Select is an enhancement of our RS grade of Pyrodex. Using RS or 2F data in a volumetric measure, Select can significantly reduce group size."
My dram volumetric measure is a dram/oz measure. Right beside the dram marks are oz marks for the measure of lead (please let's not get into the history of ounces and how it was weight based, yada yada). How convenient! I can determine exactly how many ounces of lead is a square load for the volumetric equivalent of BP in drams. Wait, forgot who I was talking to for a moment. Scratch "exactly" from above because I didn't account for the difference in weight associated with the varying amounts of antimony and tin in the lead alloy?

Last edited by noelf2; November 6, 2015 at 12:14 PM.
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